Extranets Take Root In Corporate Legal Departments

Like every other overtaxed in-house attorney, Niko Lorentzatos is excited to adopt any technology that can make his job easier. The Web-based extranet has gone a long way toward that end.

Three years ago Lorentzatos, senior litigation attorney at Houston-based Burlington Resources Inc., began collaborating with outside counsel via an extranet hosted by CaseShare Systems Inc., based in Denver. Lorentzatos couldn't be happier with the results.

Now, he says, IT departments are increasingly providing portal technologies to departments within the company--such as engineering, purchasing and global sourcing. "In the healthcare industry, companies are using extranet portals to facilitate FDA approvals," he says. "So, legal and other departments can now piggy-back on the existing infrastructure."

That's why many larger clients are catching on and, in some cases, catching up. While they come in a variety of flavors--most legal extranets are hosted internally by a corporate IT department; by an outside law firm; or by a third-party service provider.

"It's an important process and it's increasingly becoming a problem," Rudolph says. "We have to send the notices out ourselves and keep track of all the responses. It's not something we do often but it's going to be a huge time-saver."

A Hybrid Approach

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